Vigorous competition for telecoms dominance has, perhaps fittingly, devolved into a war of words.
T-Mobile wants to complete its merger with Sprint to fully compete against cellular giants Verizon and AT&T.
However, the merger has been a tough sell to regulators and consumers who worry that less competition will lead to higher cell phone bills and ever-worsening customer service. T-Mobile’s rejoinder is that the merger will help it deliver a new service to U.S. consumers: nationwide 5G.
The heated race to build a 5G network has been a sticking point for industry communicators, as companies have tried to position their brands ahead of viable technology releases. AT&T announced 5Ge (which stands for “5G evolution”) but later conceded that the network would still be 4G technology.
It argued that the new network moniker was aspirational.
Now T-Mobile’s CEO John Legere is swinging hard at the competition, saying their practices are dishonest and harmful to consumers.
Just as 4G enabled innovators in the U.S. to create the Ubers, Lyfts, Snaps and Venmos of the world, 5G will usher in a whole new wave of innovation. And this is innovation that can come from anywhere! Who’s to say that the next groundbreaking app is going to be created in the middle of a huge city center? America is full of innovative minds. We are much more likely to lead as a country in the next industrial revolution if more people have access to the technology that allows them to innovate wherever they are located – and that is why it’s so important to deliver 5G across the entire country. There are brilliant people in every corner of the U.S. – from small towns to big cities – and we’ll only benefit from their ideas if they have access to the right tools.
Unfortunately, it is no surprise that there is a lot of misinformation out there regarding our proposed merger with Sprint, so it is important for me to make sure people really understand that the New T-Mobile will absolutely be GOOD for innovation and good for consumers. It will ensure that 5G reaches people across the entire country and that the opportunity to build on the 5G future is second to none!
Legere labeled the competitors “the Other Guys” and explicitly laid out where he believes they are making mistakes in the race for 5G.
If we leave it up to the Other Guys, the U.S. could very well fall behind in the 5G race. That’s because, while we’re focused on actually BUILDING 5G for All with the New T-Mobile, they’ve been locked in a meaningless race just to claim they’re “first”.
AT&T calls itself a world leader in 5G, but customers STILL can’t sign up for their 5G service. First, AT&T claimed to offer 5G on a puck, yet nobody could buy it. And now, they’re going to sell the Galaxy S10 5G to businesses and developers ONLY. If you want 5G, and you’re a typical AT&T customer, you’re outta luck… But hey, if you just want to see that 5G icon on the phone, they’ve got 5GE logo (which is essentially the same old LTE you’ve always had… don’t let them fool you)!
Verizon is focused on mmWave, and despite the well-known limitations, they added a $10 premium for customers who tap into the next-gen network. After a flood of complaints, they decided to “temporarily” credit that charge back, and in the same breath started forcing people who want 5G onto their most expensive plans.
All this AND both still refuse to publish coverage maps so their customers know where their limited 5G is. It’s clear Verizon and AT&T are trying to stick with the same old broken status quo.
The squabble is part of a growing trend for U.S. businesses to openly slam their competitors. Beer companies MillerCoors and Anheuser-Busch tussled over Super Bowl messaging this year, and Wendy’s has a long history of poking fun at its direct competitors on social media.
However, some companies have been unable to deliver the snark without courting backlash, and brand managers who want to go negative should take care to avoid being offensive.
For T-Mobile, using Legere as a spokesman was a brilliant stroke, as the CEO has a somewhat folksy personal brand built up over many appearances, interviews and social media posts. His blog is written in a conversational style, allowing him to make his case to the American people.
A blog post might not get the job done, though.
Mobile’s merger with Sprint has been held up with lengthy reviews by federal and state officials. The Federal Communications Commission has already signaled its approval of the merger, while the Federal Trade Commission has not yet committed to supporting or opposing it. On the state side, multiple attorney generals have moved to block the merger, while commitments to deliver rural service and jobs have won tentative support elsewhere.
What do you think of T-Mobile’s 5G messaging, PR Daily readers?